Kezia Dugdale does not face suspension for going on ITV’s I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! despite flying to Australia to join the reality TV show without her party’s permission.
The former Scottish Labour leader will face questions from the party though when she returns from Down Under.
New leader Richard Leonard was tight-lipped following a lunchtime meeting of the party’s MSPs held at Holyrood yesterday to discuss the situation. But shortly afterwards, the party’s business manager James Kelly released a short statement.
Ahead of Ms Dugdale’s adventure in the Australian jungle, which could see her absent from Parliament for up to three weeks, Mr Kelly said: “The Scottish Parliamentary Labour group today discussed the decision of Kezia Dugdale to take an unauthorised leave of absence from her parliamentary duties. Today, the group concluded that Kezia Dugdale would not face suspension.
“In accordance with standard procedure, Kezia Dugdale will be interviewed on her return to parliament and have the opportunity to present her account of events.”
The News understands that Labour has not ruled out the possibility of disciplinary action being taken against Ms Dugdale. Before yesterday’s meeting both Westminster leader Jeremy Corbyn and Mr Leonard had indicated they were not inclined to suspend her.
However, Mr Leonard said he was disappointed by his predecessor’s decision to take a break from her parliamentary duties.
Meanwhile, sources close to Ms Dugdale have said she will donate the portion of her MSP’s salary while she is away to charity.
She has also said some of the money she receives for being on the show - which she is expected to enter tomorrow - will go to a good cause.
At the weekend, fellow Labour MSP Neil Findlay branded Ms Dugdale’s decision to head for the jungle – where she will meet up with fellow contestants including boxer Amir Khan, Boris Johnson’s father Stanley and The Saturdays’ singer Vanessa White – as “utterly ludicrous”.
But Ms Dugdale’s partner, SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth, defended the decision as she urged Scots to “get behind #TeamKez”.
Writing in a newspaper column, Ms Gilruth called for “some perspective” saying people should be more angered by “the rape clause, Universal Credit, Brexit” rather than Ms Dugdale going on a TV show.
Ms Gilruth said her partner had been upset by the “hurtful things” written about her and called on Labour to show some “human decency”.